Hommes Oil Company, a Gas Station Chain Turned Swimwear Brand, Is Out, Proud, and Having a Good Time

When I asked my male friends and colleagues about shopping for swim trunks, every single one of them said the most important factors are the length and “fun patterns.”

“The bathing suit market is hard for men, especially when you are a gay man. They either hit you below the knees—not cute—or it’s a Speedo. TMI,” Vogue’s fashion assistant Greg Mitola told me. Another friend who works in banking added: “They should be cool and above the knee, not like suburban-frat-boy shorts from a skater brand.” Men aren’t the only ones shopping for specific cuts when it comes to board shorts, either. Vogue editor Steff Yotka swears by men’s swim trunks: “Women’s board shorts tend to be either way too short or in a decidedly twee, feminine print—all to say, the best ones are always for dudes.”

Enter Daniel DuGoff, who has created an all-gender, available-in-many-sizes, just-shorter-than-four-inches board short under his new label, Hommes Oil Company, cheekily nicknamed HOMOCO.

Homes Oil Company (with one M) was a gas station chain in Washington, D.C., owned by DuGoff’s great-grandparents, later succeeded by DuGoff’s father. Hommes Oil Company, with an extra M, à la “men” in French, is DuGoff’s own interpretation of the family brand, which he just launched last month. Homes Oil Company went by “HOMOCO” for short, until the AIDS crisis in the ’80s, when DuGoff’s family rebranded the gas station to simply Homes Oil. “Now is not the time to be timid with a brand,” DuGoff says. “Why shouldn’t this brand be proud of its nickname—HOMOCO?”